Amusing Monday: Weirdo watches your water use

A new water-conservation message has been invented for a national public service campaign launched last week. The message is this: “Wasting water is weird.”

Three public service announcements, which need little explanation from me, were created by the Shelton Group, an advertising and marketing company specializing in sustainability issues.

In addition to the one at right, there are these:

Wasting Water is Weird: Bathroom

Wasting Water is Weird: Car Wash

A survey by the agency reportedly found that 69 percent of Americans believe it is important to personally reduce water consumption, but fewer than half have given up tub baths or are taking shorter showers.

Suzanne Shelton, who heads the Shelton Group, said human psychology shows that, when it comes to conservation, “don’t waste” messages affect people more than “save” messages. Getting through to people on an emotional level is a goal of the campaign. Shelton explains further:

“Our consumer surveys show Americans talk a good game about water conservation but take very little action. We’ve found you cannot just tell people they have to stop using water or try to put a positive spin on making a sacrifice. And guilting them into making a change by throwing dire realities at them doesn’t work. This campaign helps consumers make the shift from an automatic behavior to a conscious choice.”

The weird character in the videos is named Rip the Drip. The actor is not identified. But who would want this guy popping up and becoming your friend when you let the water run too long?

The campaign, sponsored by Bosch, Kohler, Lowe’s and Proctor and Gamble, is affiliated with a new website that contains conservation information, as well as screen savers and ring tones featuring Rip the Drip.

6 thoughts on “Amusing Monday: Weirdo watches your water use

  1. Normally, recycled materials are rinsed out for purposes of sanitation during storage and to avoid contaminants during reprocessing, which can take place much later than the initial collection. It doesn’t take much water to rinse out a can or bottle, and I’ve always heard that manufacturing with recyclables generally uses less water than using raw materials.

    If anyone else has any thoughts, please contribute.

  2. Even one drop added to many others will add up to a lot of water over time.
    To clarify, my question pertained only to bottles and cans holding liquids.
    It seems silly to me to waste good water rinsing something that held only liquids.. not food items such as a can of chilli.

    Thanks…

  3. Sharon,

    I posed your question about rinsing bottles and cans that hold liquids, such as soft drinks, beer and wine, to Chris Piercy, Kitsap County’s recycling coordinator. (Chris replaced Dave Peters, who held the position for years.) Here is what Chris said:

    “Good question. That is something I, myself, often wonder. The fact is that it is important to rinse containers before they are collected for recycling, in order to keep commingled loads cleaner, prevent bee infestations at drop boxes and sorting facilities, keep the belts on the sorting machines at the material recovery facility clean, etc.

    “Will not rinsing prevent the material from being a marketable product? The answer is “it depends”. Beer and soda containers can often be free of liquids, and not rinsed, and still be a viable commodity. Milk jugs and peanut butter jars, on the other hand, do need to be rinsed in order to be marketable.

    “To make a long story short, I suggest containers be rinsed.”

  4. Thanks Chris and Chris Piercy too.

    I understand the need to rinse purely from a recyclable collection viewpoint and CP is certainly right about the ‘bee’ factor coming into play.

    My concern is we – even here – have had water shortages and rationed water for household use. I’ve wondered about continuing to rinse a non-food item, soda bottles for example, knowing people and animals are rationed water elsewhere and see that waste water from rinsing drains uselessly down the sink without giving life saving refreshment to crops, people and animals.

    Didn’t you recently write an article talking about people -fellow in Texas I think – buying up water rights?

    Maybe our scientists should figure out a way to recycling rinses without wasting water to do it…just a thought.
    Should we consider use of gray water instead of the good drinking tap water for rinsing recyclables?

    Thanks again, Chris…

  5. Sharon asked a very good question. I’m happy to recycle, and have been doing so for years, but I have no idea whether it’s actually better for the environment to do so than not.

    The answers from the County’s recycling coordinator weren’t particularly convincing… hey, it’s his job, of course it’s a good thing. I’m not faulting him.

    Just wondering if anybody’s done some scientific/economic research.

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